The interaction of Trolox C, a water-soluble vitamin E analog, with ferrylmyoglobin: Reduction of the oxoferryl moiety

Cecilia R Giulivi, Francisco J. Romero, Enrique Cadenas

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74 Scopus citations


The oxidation of the heme iron of metmyoglobin by H2O2 yields an oxo ferryl complex (FeIVO), similar to Compound II of peroxidases, as well as a protein radical; this high oxidation state of myoglobin is known as ferrylmyoglobin. The interaction of Trolox, a water-soluble vitamin E analog, with ferrylmyoglobin entailed two sequential one-electron oxidations of the phenolic antioxidant with intermediate formation of a phenoxyl radical and accumulation of a quinone end product. These oxidation reactions were linked to individual reductions of ferrylmyoglobin to metmyoglobin, as indicated by the value of the relationship [metmyoglobin]formed/[Trolox]consumed: 1.92 ± 0.28. The Trolox-mediated reduction of ferrylmyoglobin to metmyoglobin could proceed directly, i.e., electron transfer from the phenolic-OH group in Trolox to the oxoferryl moiety, or indirectly, i.e., sequential electron transfer from Trolox to a protein radical to the oxoferryl moiety. The former mechanism is supported by the finding that the high oxidation heme iron is reduced under conditions where the tyrosyl residues are blocked by o-acetylation and when hemin is substituted for myoglobin. The latter mechanism is consistent with the following observations: (a) the EPR signal ascribed to the protein radical is suppressed by Trolox, with the concomitant appearance of the EPR spectrum of the Trolox phenoxyl radical and (b) the rate of ferrylmyoglobin reduction by Trolox is decreased with increasing number of tyrosyl residues in the proteins of horse myoglobin (titrated by o-acetylation) and sperm whale myoglobin. The apparent discrepancy between these observations can be reconciled by considering that both electrophilic centers in ferrylmyoglobin-the oxoferryl heme moiety and the protein radical-function independently of each other and that recovery of ferrylmyoglobin by Trolox could be effected through the tyrosyl residues, albeit at slower rates. The mechanistic aspects of these results are discussed in terms of the two main redox transitions in the myoglobin molecule encompassing valence changes of the heme iron and electron transfer of the tyrosyl residue in the protein and linked to the two sequential one-electron oxidations of Trolox.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-312
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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